Hometown Hero

Jan. 22, 2004

By Chris Purser
Ole Miss Athletic Media Relations

There is no place like home. Just ask Rebel guard Kendrick Fox. The Oxford native is the only hometown boy on the Ole Miss roster this season. And since his arrival, the Rebels have been one of the most dominate teams in not only the Tad Pad, but everywhere in the SEC West. His choice of colleges is one that Fox has not regretted since his arrival.

"Coming to Ole Miss was the best decision I ever made," said Fox. "With the other schools that recruited me, it would not have turned out right. Plus, my family has had a chance to see me play. It's much more exciting to be able to play in your hometown."

While Fox has yet to become a regular in the starting lineup, the 6-foot-7 junior is definitely making his voice heard this year. Through this season's first 14 games, Fox has already scored more points than he has in his first two seasons combined. Known for his ability to make the big play, Fox secured the Rebels a victory in two games this season with his long-range accuracy. With the Rebels trailing by one to Southeastern Louisiana, he put Ole Miss on top for good with his second trey of the afternoon with 28 seconds remaining. Fox finished with a career-high 10 points.

Three games later, Fox bested that total with a memorable performance at Evansville. With Justin Reed sidelined with foul trouble, Fox took over offensive responsibilities, tying Aaron Harper with a team-high 17 points. He had never led the team in scoring before. More importantly, he had never hit a bigger shot at a bigger time than his final attempt of the night. Fox connected on the final two shots of the game, and with the score tied with four seconds remaining, he knocked down a long, heroic three-pointer to hand Ole Miss its first road win of the season. It was one of five treys for Fox, which was also a career first.

"I've become a better player this season," said Fox. "I'm much more confident. I see the game better. I also enjoy it much more."

Fox's big-play ability has been a trademark since his high school days. Suffering a torn ACL during his senior year in high school, Fox chose to put off surgery to repair the torn ligament at the end of the season and play the final 16 games of his senior campaign. After undergoing surgery in March to repair the damage, Fox signed with Ole Miss and joined the team in time for the 2001-2002 season. Seemingly without missing a beat, he rebounded to play in all 31 games his freshman year, and even drew the start against SEC powerhouse Kentucky. Fox's game has come a long way since that time, and he credits much of his growth and maturation to his teammates, both present and past.

"My teammates have always stayed with me," Fox said. "The guys that came in with me three years ago have helped me in so many ways. I owe a lot to the team captains and leaders we've had since my freshman season, like Jason Harrison, Emmanuel Wade, Rahim Lockhart and this year's captains (Aaron Harper and Justin Reed). They've helped me become a better player."

That kind of ability to learn and make the big play has turned Fox into one of the Rebels' key offensive threats. However, he is most concerned in becoming a complete player and helping the team get the win and meet its goals.

"I'd like to just come a better all-around player, not just a shooter" Fox said. "I want to be able to help this team return to the NCAA Tournament."

Head Coach Rod Barnes has also noticed a drastic improvement in Fox's improvement over the last two years.

"Kendrick has grown a lot," said Barnes. "Since coming here, he has made the adjustment from the post to the perimeter and has become a really good shooter. Now he is trying to improve on his ball handling. He is a great kid."

And if Fox continues to improve, the sky is the limit for Ole Miss.

 

 

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